Officials Investigating Olympian's Single-Engine Plane Crash Amid Suspicion It Was Staged for Social Media
About 20 minutes into the flight, Trevor Jacob says he started experiencing engine trouble. Minutes later, he jumped out of the plane with a parachute.
Aircraft and transportation safety officials are investigating a California plane crash after a number of people expressed doubts about the heroic story told by the pilot, who filmed the incident and posted it on social media.
Trevor Jacob, a former team USA Olympic snowboarder, says he was on a mission to spread his friend’s ashes when he took to the skies in his single-engine plane over Los Padres National Forest.
He had cameras rolling at every angle. But about 20 minutes into the flight, Jacob says he started experiencing engine trouble.
“Holy s***! I’m over the mountains and I f****** have an engine out,” Jacob said.
Minutes later, wearing a parachute, Jacob leaped out to save himself. He watched as the plane descended, with the camera still rolling on board as the aircraft crashed into the side of the mountain.
Jacob survived a tough landing in the brush, suffering only minor scrapes and cuts.
“I'm just so happy to be alive. That's why I always freaking fly with a parachute,” he said.
Later, the 28-year-old found his downed plane.
“There's literally nothing. No anything. No water. I had a water jug in the back,” Jacob said.
Jacob then began the hourslong, treacherous hike back down the mountain, and as the sun began to set, he finally found some water.
But some people are suggesting the entire incident was staged after seeing the extraordinary video, with cameras from every angle capturing everything.
“Because the first item on any engine failure checklist is: open cockpit door immediately and prepare to jump out,” said one comment.
“This was an intentional crash likely for the sole purpose of likes and views,” said another.
Aviation safety expert Steve Cowell also had concerns about the crash.
“This aircraft from that altitude could have gone approximately 30 miles in either direction. You're not taught to bail out of an aircraft if something goes wrong. So that's the first problem I had with it. The second problem is the lack of communications. Why was this pilot not communicating with air traffic control?” Cowell said.
Jacob said he respectfully declines to comment.
Both the FAA and NTSB are investigating the crash.
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